HIROSHIMA'S SHADOW by Kai Bird

HIROSHIMA'S SHADOW

Writings on the Denial of History and the Smithsonian Controversy

KIRKUS REVIEW

An exhaustive, controversial, and moving volume that has its origins in the Smithsonian Institution’s cancellation of a planned exhibition in 1994—95 of the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. To be included in the exhibition’s script were several scholarly studies and a number of historical documents that questioned the military necessity and moral legitimacy of that act. The book, then, moves along two paths: a painstaking analysis of how and why the bomb came to be used, and a provocative deliberation on what the editors (Bird, a contributing editor of the Nation, and Lifschultz, former South Asia correspondent of the Far Eastern Economic Review) term the “pathology of denial” in the US surrounding our use of the bomb. While voices in support of the bombing of Hiroshima are to be found here, most of the contributors in various ways attempt to debunk the myths and assumptions that have built up concerning this act. The first part of the book offers selections by present-day historians. The second part is devoted to essays written shortly after the bombing. Part three focuses on the Smithsonian controversy itself. Part four presents chilling first-person accounts of the day Hiroshima died. The final part is devoted to historical documents, memos, and diary entries of those who participated in the decision to use the bomb and also public statements pleading against this decision. As a century of extreme barbarism draws to a close, the editors ask us to think critically about the US contribution to this barbarism, the unleashing upon the world of atomic and nuclear weapons. Their purpose is not to apportion blame, to point fingers, but rather to allow us to look at our history and perhaps gain what is often so elusive: wisdom. (8 b&w photos)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-9630587-3-8
Page count: 660pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1998




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